A BATTLING display in Worcestershire from Paul Holleran’s Brakes meant it was honours even in Leamington’s latest friendly at Bromsgrove Sporting.
Saturday’s goalless draw gave another valuable assessment of where Leamington are right now ahead of the National League North kick-off on Saturday October 3, against a side that looked well set for the Southern League Premier Central play-offs before the season’s early close in March.
An injury to a former Brakes man in Kieren Westwood meant a stop-start opening few minutes before proceedings were allowed to fully settle down, with the hosts enjoying the better of the early stages and forcing the first attempt on target when Rouslers trialist Aram Soleman sent into the gloves of Jake Weaver after racing past Junior English.
Leamington reminded their opponents of their strength going forward and could have broken the deadlock – had excellent blocks not been made to deny Kieran Dunbar and Kaiman Anderson by the Sporting rearguard.
A block from Simeon Maye to prevent Bromsgrove goalkeeper Dan Platt’s clearance failed to trouble the hosts’ goal, while chances for Nathan Hayward and Will Shorrock gave the Brakes a reminder of Sporting’s threat on the counter.
Leamington were equally as impressive in their ability to transition quickly from defence to attack, creating an opening from a Bromsgrove corner when Waldron burst down the right and teed up Dunbar for a strike that required an acrobatic save from Platt.
While the chances continued to fall, the goals did not despite the best efforts of both sides. Leon Broadhurst was next to threaten when attempting to meet Josh Quaynor’s corner from the right, though the resolute Kyle Morrison was a split-second quicker to the ball to head clear at the back post and save Holleran’s men before the break.
With last-ditch defending preventing an opener at one end, it was poor finishing denying a goal at the other as an outstretched Maye nudged a shot harmlessly wide with the first chance of the second half.
Another well-worked move resulted in Connor Taylor working a yard of space after beating a Bromsgrove defender, but his shot lacked conviction and gave Platt the easy task of claiming the ball.
It was all one-way traffic on the Leamington goal in the closing stages as Sporting pressed for a winner, with Shorrock whistling an attempt wide of the post from the edge of the penalty area, and a Bromsgrove trialist going closer still with a turn and strike that had Weaver scrambling to get down low.
Leamington’s next pre-season task takes them to Sixways Stadium to take on West Midlands (Regional) League outfit Worcester Raiders on Wednesday night (7.45pm), a fixture that precedes a stern test against Solihull Moors of the National League on home turf this Saturday (3pm).